Asus Crosshair VI Hero

It’s crazy to look back at the original Crosshair and see just how much things have changed. Hell, the original was running on a Nvidia nForce 590 chipset, how many people even remember that Nvidia had their own chipsets! Anyhow, even all the way back to the original Asus has always packed the Crosshair boards full of features and from what I’ve seen of the new Crosshair VI Hero it looks like they have done the same thing again. This is one of the two boards that came with our initial review setup for the new Ryzen processors. So today I’m going to check out the new Crosshair VI Hero and see what it is all about and find out if it is a good option to consider for those of you excited to build a new high-end AMD build.

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MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium

Beyond the exciting new CPU and the nice wooden box that came with our Ryzen review kit, down in the bottom I found an awesome looking motherboard to test with. AMD and MSI had slipped us an X370 XPower Gaming Titanium along with the rest of the kit. While I’ve taken a look at a lot of MSIs boards, I haven’t had the chance to check out any of their Titanium boards and it is an area where I think MSI has really been showing some creativity, so I’m excited to take a closer look at the new board and find out if the Titanium has the features to back up its good looks.

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Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3

Part of the excitement about the Ryzen launch is the possibility of getting high performance at a much lower price than the premium that Intel has had on it recently. With the new CPUs, some of the new X370 boards have pushed their pricing up with all of the added features. Well, this is where the B350 chipset comes in. AMD dropped the number of USB and SAT ports on the B350 and you can’t get SLI on a B350 board but they still allow overclocking and the prices for B350 boards are a lot cheaper. This will come into play more with the mid range Ryzen CPUs, but even paired with the Ryzen 7 1700, a B350 board can be a good value. So today I’m going to check out the AB350 Gaming 3 from Gigabyte as it seems to fit the bill perfectly with a good feature list at a good price.

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Asus Strix Z270E Gaming

It's just about impossible to check out all of the different Z270 boards offered by all of the manufacturers, but I have at least taken a look at a mix so far. Missing though was Asus, so today I’m going to be checking out the Asus Strix Z270E Gaming. Asus’s Z270 product lineup is broken down into four categories, Maximus as their high-end gaming boards, the Stix line as their gaming boards with lighting, the TUF series that is well tuff, and the Prime series are simpler for styling but still packed with a lot of the same features. Asus even put together a nice website to help you figure out what fits you best. So the Strix Z270E Gaming that I’m going to check out today is a full ATX board up at the top of the Strix lineup. I’ve only checked out Strix video cards, so I’m excited to see what Asus has going on with the Strix boards.

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MSI Z270 SLI PLUS

So not everyone looking for a Z270 board wants or needs all of the gaming-focused features that most of the Z270 boards have. Specifically, some people just want something clean and simple looking without any special lighting and MSI seems to have just the thing. Their Z270 SLI Plus has a black and silver theme without any RGB lighting. It’s a lot closer to a budget board but it still has a few of the features you would need/want when building a simple gaming PC including the SLI support. So today I’m going to check it out and see what it has going for features, software, and performance. Let’s dive in!

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Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming K7

So it's almost tax time and this year we couldn’t ask for better timing on hardware launches. Intel launched their new chipsets and CPUs around CES time and AMD has their new CPUs and Chipsets coming here soon as well. So it looks like this year might be a big year for hardware, especially with more companies refocusing again on the PC. Well, Gigabyte introduced a whole selection of Z270 boards at CES and along with that they also expanded the reach of their Aorus line. It used to just be their gaming laptop lineup, but they have now brought together that brand with their gaming peripherals, motherboard, and video cards as well. The first Aorus product to come in is their new Z270X-Gaming K7 board. Let’s take a look and see what it’s all about.

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Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5

With companies finding ways to pack more and more features into Mini-ITX motherboards the small form factor market has flourished over the past few years. We are finally seeing a lot of people running smaller builds at events as LAN rigs and the idea of a higher end build doesn’t require a case that hardly fits in your car and needs a backbelt to pickup anymore. In fact, even when looking past the smallest builds we have been seeing cases designed for Mini-ITX that are still more mid tower designs. This is because most builds only need a single video card these days and built in NICs have improved in quality, ITX boards now sometimes have wireless, and even onboard audio has improved (and some people have moved to USB audio). All of that means most people don’t really need huge builds. I already took a look at MSIs Z170 ITX gaming board and today I’m checking out the Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5, Gigabytes highest featured ITX board to see what they have packed into the ITX form factor.

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MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC

Over the last few years small builds have been becoming more and more popular. Both for LAN rigs like we have been using for a long time, but even for main PCs. This is partially due to more parts being available but mostly some people are tired of dealing with huge heavy cases, especially when you can do nearly anything you want in the Mini-ITX form factor. Late this fall I started thinking about a new LAN rig, maybe even another iteration of our LunchBox series, before I did that though I really needed to check out the new Z170 boards. That leads me to today where I’m going to check out MSI’s gaming focused Mini-ITX board, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC. I’ve used a few of MSI’s ITX boards in builds before and I’m excited to see what this one has to offer.

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Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming-7

With the launch of Intel’s latest chipset and the i7-6700 CPU it’s no surprise that they brought along with them a long list of new motherboards from every manufacture. At the launch I took a look at one of MSIs boards. After the launch though we jumped into GPU mode and covered the latest budget cards. Past that I slipped in a vacation and then of course our 17th LAN event. With all of that past us I can finally revisit Z170 and take a look at the Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7. I’m excited to see what Gigabyte has packed into the board as far as features go and to find out how it compares to the MSI. So today I’m going to dig through the Gaming 7s features then put it to the test, let’s get to it!

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MSI Z170A Gaming M5

We can’t very well launch a completely new CPU with a new chipset without a motherboard right? Well MSI sent over their new Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard for us to test out Skylake and also to see what MSI has to offer in their new Z170 boards. Today I will be taking a look at their mid ranged gaming motherboard.  We have already seen how Skylake performs with our i7-6700K review, now I’m going to dig into the Z170A Gaming M5 and see what sets it apart from the competition. Enjoy!

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Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion

So what is now years ago Adam and I were at a press event for Gigabyte at CES. At that event I spent some time playing against a pro gamer and we also had the chance to see them introduce their new games series of motherboards. At the end of that speech they slipped in a quick sneak peak of a new line of overclocking motherboards with an orange theme that they called OC Orange. Now I think everyone knows just how much I love orange and OC orange to me is LanOC orange, a color that we have used on the website from nearly the start. At that time Adam wrote that he imagined that I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I got my hands on one of the boards. Well it has been a long few years, but today is finally the day. Gigabyte sent over their new X99-SOC Champion flagship overclocking board and today I’m going to dig into it and see what it is all about. Oddly enough now that I can sleep, I want nothing more than to stay up and see what sets the board apart from the competition.

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Asus Crossblade Ranger

So last week I took a look at Asus’s AM3+ board, today I have the chance to take a look at a more recent AMD based ROG board called the Crossblade Ranger. Asus launched the Crossblade Ranger not to long ago and as you can tell from the lack of any numbers in the name this is their first Republic of Gamers FM2+ board. Why did they take so long to bring one out? Frankly the FM2+ platform was always designed to be more of a mainstream platform but that didn’t stop some people from using them for gaming. Asus noticed there was interest in a gaming focused board and here we are. Today I’m going to dive into the Crossblade Ranger and see what kind of features Asus packed in then after that I will get it on the testbench and make sure it performs like it should as well.

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Asus Crosshair V Formula-Z

Due to Intel releasing new chipsets often a lot of people might think that the motherboard market has a big focus on Intel boards. As I have seen in the past on our forums, our Facebook, and even at our events there is still a large AMD following that is hungry for the latest and greatest to support their preferred vender as well. Well when looking to lock in a board for future AM3+ testing I ended up with the Asus Crosshair V Formula in my hands. Today I’m going to dig into it and see what makes it Asus’s flagship AMD board.

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Asus Maximus VII Impact

When it comes to Mini-ITX motherboards people are going to have a wide range of feature requirements. For some, as long as it supports their CPU and it has a x16 PCIe slot they are good to go. Others want to have a lot of the features they would find in their full sized builds including wireless AC, different storage connection options, and even upgraded audio. Personally I have been on both sides. When I’m building a budget Mini-ITX build I can skip out on the features but when I’m building a crazy LAN rig like the build we put in the In Win D-Frame Mini only the best will do. Asus continues to impress me with their drive to pack anything and everything into their Impact boards. Well today I’m going to take a look at the latest one, the Maximus VII Impact. This is officially the second Impact board, based on the Z97 chipset. Is this the perfect LAN rig motherboard? Let’s find out.

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Biostar A68N-5000

If you are anything like me then you most likely aren’t just limited to having a PC or two in your office, you most likely are using an HTPC or something similar at one or more televisions in your house. You could just pick up one of the many options available on the market right now, or you could put together something yourself. I’ve done this a few times in the past but over the past few years the prices for capable components have come down and let’s be honest, the performance requirements aren’t really going anywhere until 4k becomes a little cheaper. So today I’m going to take a look at a nice budget motherboard with a built in quad core AMD Fusion APU from Biostar. I don’t expect the A68N-5000 to be a hardcore gaming board, I’m really just curious how well it will handle simple tasks that an HTPC or small home server would require.

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MSI X99S MPower

When shopping for a new motherboard I’ve found that a lot of people tend to lean toward what you have had good experiences with in the past. For me I have a short list of companies that I tend to prefer in my personal rigs and MSI is on that list. When I covered the X99 launch I didn’t have the chance to check out their X99 offerings but today I finally do. They sent over the X99S MPower. It isn’t their highest end board but it is damn close. Now I can sit down and see how it compares to the competition. My previous experiences with MSI MPower boards have been good, but the X99 boards I have tested to date have been extremely good, will it be able to keep up? Let’s find out.

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EVGA X99 Classified

When EVGA announced their first Classified motherboard back with X58 I saved up my money so I could get one soon after its launch. The X58 Classified was one of the first mega high end motherboards on the market and it started a race to the top to see who could make the coolest motherboard possible while trying to pack in the highest overclocking headroom as possible. From then on EVGA has introduced Classified motherboards for each Intel chipset launched. They have even expanded into Classified GPUs as well! Well with the launch of X99 it wasn’t a big surprise that EVGA would be ready to go with their latest and greatest based on the new enthusiast chipset. Today I’m going to see how it compares to the other X99’s on the market and see just how far things have come from the X58 Classified that is still hanging on my office wall.  

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Asus X99 Deluxe

We can’t very well look at the i7-5960X from Intel and not do a motherboard review along with it right? As the first of what I  expect to be a list of X99 motherboards I will be covering, I wanted to use the X99 Deluxe first because Asus boards are always reliable and the software is perfect for keeping an eye on things when benchmarking the CPU. Asus went with a simpler name than on previous generations with the X99 Deluxe and they also went a little ham and changed up a lot with the new design. Let’s see what all changed, beyond the new white styling.

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MSI Devils Canyon Roundup

It’s amazing how quickly things can add up. A great example of this is just how many motherboards a company like MSI manufactures. Just on the Intel side of things, you have multiple chipsets and then from there they have an overclocking line, gaming line, and their general line. From there they still have to break things down by price and feature set. Just for the Intel Socket 1150 they have a whopping 67 motherboards listed on their website. With the launch of Devils Canyon CPUs I really wanted to take a look at a few of their boards to get an idea of what the different price points will get you. So today, I’m going to take a look at four different Gaming motherboards ranging in size from Mini ITX to full ATX. Three are Z97 boards but there is also their only B85 gaming model slipped in as well.  Combined with the Z97 Gaming 5 that I already took a look at, we should be able to get a good idea of what you should be looking at for your builds and why they have such a wide variety of motherboards.

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Asus Z97-A

With the Z87 launch, Asus made a few big changes with their mainstream motherboard line, the biggest being the change to the gold color scheme. That change came with a mixed response but the high quality and big feature set that Asus includes on all of their boards they were still very popular. With the Z97 launch, they have stuck with the gold theme but they have softened the color slightly to make it a little less polarizing. Today I will be taking a deeper look at the Z97-A, one of Asus’s mid ranged mainstream boards. I can’t wait to see what they changed for the Z97 launch and to see how the softer gold looks as well.

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